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Research & Resources: An Introduction

This guide is an introduction to the research process, understanding different types of resources, where to find them, how to evaluate them and cite them.

Step 1: Read the assignment

Read the Assignment

  • What is the purpose of the assignment?

    • Informative?
    • Persuasive?
    • Expressive?
    • Literary?
  • Can you choose anything?

  • Is there a list to choose from?

Step 2: Brainstorming Ideas

Brainstorming Ideas

  • What are you interests?
  • What infuriates you?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you curious about?
  • What have you been hearing/seeing recently...
    • on TV
    • in the news
    • on social media 
    • on campus
    • in your class
  • What is trending in the media?
  • Search for topics via Google or library databases (see below)

Step 3: Preliminary Research

You must do some research 
before you come up with a 
research question.  

Preliminary Research:

  • Learn more about your topic. 

  • What sounds interesting to you from what you discover?  

  • What gaps do you see in the information you have found?


Step 4: Creating a Manageable Topic

Topic Narrowing Tools

Topic is Appropriate

  • Does it match the assignment? See Step 1.
  • Is it manageable? 
    • Time: Do you have the time to thoroughly research this topic and meet the requirements of the assignment?
      • Too broad?
      • Too specific?
    • Resources: Do you have access to relevant resources to address this topic?
    • Skills: Are you prepared to tackle this question (reading, writing, technical skills)?

Is it a good research question?

Does it study the topic/question in a new way?

Does it connect findings to a larger or specific group of people?

Does it share a perspective not often heard?

Does it share a new solution or way to perform tasks?